Ask @DanSugarman:

What guitar picks do you use? I've been playing guitar for 12 years and I don't know why but the pick has always been my biggest struggle. Something works for a while and then on to something else. So just curious what works for you!

Nick Berg
Totally hear you man - I've been an advocate for the Dava Rock Control Delrin picks haha I use them religiously... for at least 10 years believe it or not haha hope that helps dude! https://www.davapick.com/buy/picks/rock_control_delrin

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Reckon you guys'll come to Australia any time soon? Also, run me through all of the guitars that you own, if at all possible.

I definitely hope to be playing in Australia as soon as I possibly can man! And man, way too many guitars to run through haha I've spent a lot of years collecting them... Here's a list I took off of my website haha way too hard to recall all of this. I really need to invest in a massive wall hanger setup so I can have these around at all times... though, to be honest, I've only been using the Kiesels for the past year or so. Truly some of the best shit I've ever played.
Kiesel K-6 Wenge Top USA
Kiesel SCB6 USA
Carvin DC600 USA
Jackson SL1 USA
Gibson SG USA
ESP EC1000VB Japan
Music Man JPX Chambered Body USA
Carvin CT624 USA
ESP Horizon N-II Japan
Takamine Nylon
Breedlove Performance Focus Series USA
Music Man JP Majesty USA
LTD EC1000FR Korea
Legator Ninja 7 Custom USA
LTD Horizon Korea
Acoustic Baby Taylor

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What were your best and your worst moments being in ABRB so far? What is your most memorable show you played and why?

haha awesome question dude. Definitely one I've not thought about... so lets see what comes to mind first here. As for my best moment ever being ABRB, I would probably say its the time we went to Indonesia to play two of the most amazing shows we've ever played... that, or the first tour we had in South East Asia going through Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Hawaii. China may have even been at the start of this tour, I honestly don't remember after all the ridiculous amounts of flying and monotonous airport situations we've been in. Terrible, I know.
My worst moment ever would be finding out that my mom was sick again when we were in Hawaii on the last night of that very same tour. Not being able to do shit about it from across the Pacific Ocean was the worst feeling ever. I lost it that night for sure. What a way to cap one of the best tours we've ever done. The mental switch that has to happen going from a tour like that into a situation at home as dire as it was is something that no amount of mental preparation could help.
The double edge sword that is touring, am I right?

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Hi Dan, with pickups do you use in your green guitar? Emotikon grin im asking because i have H-S-S too, and im wondering with single picks sholud i buy, and yours seems to be pretty good Emotikon grin

If you're talking about my old Jackson Soloist, I originally had a Seymour Duncan Dimebucker in there, and I'm pretty sure it had the classic stacks. The middle pickup always bugged me and got in the way of my tremelo picking, so I took out the electronics, and left the pickup cover on and sunk it way down so it was out of my way. I had a BKP in there at one point, and now have an EMG 81 in her I believe. If that's not the right guitar that you're asking me about at all, and you're asking me about the CT6 Carvin I used in the All or Nothing Playthrough video I did, those sweet babies were the new Kiesel Lithium series pickups. Awesomely hot and sweet pickups.

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where do you find SO MUCH imagination and writing that sick songs mate?

Hmm... Good question - hard to answer. Well, you just have to dig deep and find something worth investigating on your instrument. You have to look inside yourself for something real to pull from, and then get it out of your head and figure it out with your fingers before your ears can agree with the original vision. Once that happens, it's all just a matter of getting it out there to people like you - people who think it's sick! haha Worst answer ever, but there is no way to explain creativity... especially in a text format. You'd just have to come to the studio and write a song with me to see for yourself my dude!

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The instrumentation in ABRB is amazing, how do you go about your writing process?

Ah, thank you dude! For the most part, our writing process is nothing out of the ordinary in todays day and age... With the power and accessibility of computers nowadays, it's easier then ever to have a home studio and produce your own music. What we did on this last record differed a little bit from Instinct, but the general approach is the same. Ideas would come from each of us having expanded an idea as fully as we could in our own home studios, and then we would come together and flesh out the songs together if the song just wasn't quite there on our own.
There is something to be said about having the ability to hear an idea you have in your head all the way through to the end in the comfort of your own creative space. And to have access to getting the sounds you hear "inside the box" so to speak (in studio), before you bring it into the jam space and jam it out. It really helps you with getting inside your own song and really exploring all the corners of it... if you haven't invested in some way to record yourself and your songs, then I definitely suggest looking into that. Before I made the move to invest, all I had was GuitarPro to hear my ideas back... the bane of existence hahaha investing in a studio computer and Logic was the best move I made in terms of a creative tool. Hope that helps dude!

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So my question to you is.. After jamming with endless people that do not have the passion or talent to form a legit project where can I go about joining something already striving ?

I've been there too my man... for years I was stuck doing all things musical by myself. Let me tell you exactly what I did to change that: I believe in myself, and I went for it. I kept doing my thing, pushing myself to get better every day and write better music more often, and every day I saw improvement. I challenged myself for years to write SOMETHING before I went to sleep every night (lucid creativity at those hours of the night), even if it was as simple as a chord change I hadn't messed with before, I would create, and then I would sleep and marinate on the idea. Before I closed my eyes, the ideas would be playing in my head, eventually lulling me to sleep. The next morning, new ideas would be there, I could play it better, and I would decide if it was something to pursue after school (at the time, I was in middle school). By the time I was a freshman in highschool I had cultivated enough of a style and some confidence in my playing to tryout for the best metal band in my highschool. They was called Anacrusis at the time - the name was changed to Fallen Figure when I joined the band. I was jamming with the older dudes as a 10th grader, and by the time they were in their senior year, they were over the band and playing metal - so they passed the torch to me.
Alone again. But, this time I had more insight into what goes into a band. And so, I started writing a demo alone in my room and started looking for any musician talented enough to play it. The problem with that, is talent and a good personality are hard to come by. After a year or so of writing the first Demo, I had a lineup of good dudes ready to play my new songs live. The feeling was tremendous... playing your own music at a show and feeling that energy was something I became addicted to, for lack of a better word. Years of growing as a musician, band leader, and writer, lead me to meeting tons of like minded people. It's true what they say, that you are who you surround yourself with... there is no denying shit rubbed off on me when I started networking and becoming friends with other bands that I looked up to.That's when I met Lech and As Blood Runs Black. We invited Lech to come check us out and what we were working on, so he came to a practice to and was immediately into what we were doing. He actually became our manager that day. It wasn't long before he asked me to move up to the major leagues, and when he did, I was ready.
My piece of advice? Believe in yourself. Do your work, put in your time - prove your worth as a musician, a visionary, and a band leader. Constantly strive to better yourself and to make connections with as many like minded people around you. Networking is a big piece of this, but not everything. Without developing yourself socially, in business, and in online etiquette when reaching out to certain individuals for anything from labels, sponsors, booking agencies, fans, hate mail, and anything else like that. At the end of the day, it comes down to you.

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how do you select your pickups? based on the genre you're playing, can you recommend some names? and oh! analogue stomp box or a processor?

Honestly, I just use my ear dude. I do have a few qualities I look for though - something with a lot of midrange clarity, dynamic range, low end tightness, and a certain harmonic richness that comes through in lead playing. As of late, I've been using the new Kiesel Lithium Pickups and am absolutely loving them. They sound so clean on recordings, and even better live.

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Advice for a starting out metal band

- Get your shit together (have the gear, have the right members, have the songs, have the right attitude)
- Get out there and play as many shows as you can
- Create amazing music and be able to perform it flawlessly live
- Go to other shows and make connections with other bands and industry people, put yourself out there.
- Cover all your social media platforms and be on top of it, be reachable and interactive with your fans, because turning your fans into friends is one of the best way to establish a following.
- Present an image that is real, and marketable. Nothing is worse then trying to hard or not trying at all.
- Be original, and be humble.
- Allow people to tell you that you suck, and ask them why so that you can take the constructive criticism.
- Always under promise and over achieve. The extra little things go a long way in making yourself memorable.
- Add your own ideas to this list and keep it handy as you evolve as a musician and band

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First of all, thank you for do this, I have followed you since I met you at the concert with As I Lay Dying in Mexico City and you guys are fuckin awesome! So now the quetion xD... how would you describe the new album?

Rodrigo Erazo
Ahh thanks for the appreciation Rodrigo - I love this platform as well. The possibility to talk with you guys is so cool to me, so thank you for participating and being a part of this man. The show down there with AILD was incredible, such a surreal experience to hang out with them before and after the show... growing up in the metal scene, they were definitely one of my favorites at a certain point. To play with them in such an amazing city with such an awesome crowd was just unforgettable. We definitely miss Mexico City already, even though we were just there like a month ago haha we can't wait to come back. You guys definitely do it right down there. And as for your question, the new album is out, so I'm sure you already know how it sounds ;) But if you don't - it's raw, emotional, technical, melodic metal that has depth. It really means a lot to each of us in the band to have this album come out after everything that's happened, so thank you for all of your love and support <3 I mean it, thank you Rodrigo!

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What's your rig?

Right now I'm running my JP Music Man Majesty/JPX through a Sennheiser Wireless, ISP Pro Rack G Decimator, straight into my ENGL Savage 120 - coming out of a Mesa 4x12 oversized. In the future things will be changing though in several areas of my rig as I'm currently experimenting and exploring other options and approaches. Hope that answers your question!

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What do you think about bands making fans pay for VIP packages to meet them?

I think it's a cool opportunity for die hard fans of any band to actually meet and hang out with the band in a private setting. It's also a cool way for the bands to make a couple of extra dollars on tour, which is ALWAYS an issue and ALWAYS a huge help no matter the circumstance. If a tour is bigger and fancier, that does mean they are probably making a little more, but it also means they have more crew to take care of, more maintenance, maybe an extra truck hauling lighting and stage gear... You never know, but my point is that the money coming in and going out is usually relative and equivalent when it really comes down to it, and earning some extra money by creating a stronger bond with your fans, and turning them into actual friends, to me, is an awesome win-win situation. What do you think about it?

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Your blog is an enjoyable read, good stuff. So, what is the universe trying to teach you right now?

Ah thank you man, that means a lot to me. Funny you ask that, because the universe is saying a lot to me at the moment. It's bringing many internal deep seeded obstacles to the surface and letting me explore them. It's providing me with plenty of opportunities to learn and better myself, and for that I'm extremely grateful. These past few days have been intense to say the least, and just the fact that you're asking me this is too synchronistic to ignore. So thank you as well haha

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Big fan man. From newzealand. Anyway. Were you guys aware when recording the resist video that the editor wasnt very good. Its a great video. But theres frames where the green screen can be seen and what not. What were your guys thoughts on the quality? Nothing but love man. Keep it up.!

Honestly dude, we worked with a really talented and well known producer who has a great team - the issue with the video was that it came down to a budget that was cut multiple times from an ex label of ours that did it after all the shots were already done in front of the green screen. We had an incredible idea that was totally achievable with the team that we had, but luck wasn't on our side as usual, and the result is what you see. For what it was, it worked. For what it should have been, it kills me to watch every time haha

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